Issue 128 – Friend or Foe

Adam Lacey asks whether Irish critics are doing Irish film any favours.

Friend or Foe

‘The role of the film critic hasn’t changed; we guide people towards good movies and try to warn them off bad ones. Newspapers, television and radio will always require informed, coherent opinion, something not synonymous with the internet.’

So begins John Maguire, film critic for the Sunday Business Post and Ian Dempsey’s Today FM radio show.

The role of the critic has changed in recent years with the sudden deluge of articles, criticisms, essays and reviews available within seconds on the internet. Yet even with such an influx of information so readily at hand, how much has the modern critic had to adapt?

‘The medium has changed’, John continues. ‘There are far more outlets now for opinion than before but the fact that there is a lot of it, and it is easy to access, does not necessarily mean it is worth reading. And why would you bother? The quality and intellectual vigour of Irish newspaper film criticism is just as good as any internationally.’

Rotten tomatoes
‘Since 2005 I have posted selected reviews on my website, which is listed on imdb and Rotten Tomatoes and linked to from dozens of other movie blogs. I get readers from all over the world, who are not exposed to the Sunday Business Post or Today FM, but the blog is a secondary consideration. My responsibility is to the readers of the newspaper and what they might like to go see in the cinemas at the weekend, the same as it was when critics wrote about films in 1999 or 1959. Readers form relationships with their newspapers, something far more difficult to achieve with a website or, in the scattershot world of internet film criticism, a thousand websites; from Roger Ebert to Sexman (nerdy internet sensation with a profoundly disturbing mouth.) I think Sexman is gas actually, but I wouldn’t take his word on a movie!’

The full article is printed in Film Ireland 128